A Chinese national was convicted of trying smuggle trade secrets from several U.S. aerospace and aviation companies. The sentence will be handed down Wednesday by prosecutors, who are seeking a 25 year prison sentence.
Yanjun Xu’s lawyers claim that such a sentence would have been too harsh. They also believe that the five years he has served since his arrest are sufficient punishment.
Xu will be sentenced by Timothy Black, a federal judge in Cincinnati.
According to the government, Xu began recruiting experts at aviation companies in December 2013. This included GE Aviation in Cincinnati.
Federal prosecutors identified Xu, a deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of State Security. This is the country’s intelligence agency and security agency. According to the government, he would be paid stipends to experts for travel to China in that capacity, while delivering a presentation at a university.
Specifically, Xu was charged by the government with trying to steal technology from GE Aviation’s composite engine fan. This technology had not been duplicated by other companies and was used to benefit the Chinese government.
After visiting Belgium to meet a GE employee on business, Xu, 42 was arrested and later extradited to the United States.
Xu was accused of conspiring and attempting economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and was convicted of all charges last year after a two week trial.
Prosecutors argued that Xu’s punishment should reflect his activities and efforts for China in a Nov.8 court filing.
They wrote that the sentence should promote respect for the law among the many employees who have access to trade secrets of American companies as well as among foreign governments seeking to convert such information.
Xu’s lawyers argued that he wasn’t a spy, that he didn’t ask for trade secrets, and that the case involved legal trade information exchange.
In a court filing, they requested that the Court resist the government’s demand to use Mr. Xu’s example as a way to send a message to the nation. “Like all other criminal defendant Mr. Xu deserves to be treated as an individual and not a statistic.”